business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • Kmart Chairman and CEO James B. Adamson said that while the bankrupt company may have to close more stores after the holidays, it won’t be anywhere near the 500 that have been speculated about in recent press reports. "We haven't determined how many stores, where they're going to be located," Adamson said. “We're going to close as few stores as possible and we're going to give stores a chance to get fixed."

  • Kmart Corp. also reports that despite her legal travails as she is investigated for insider trading, Martha Stewart’s various product lines are actually selling better than a year ago.

  • Fortune reports that, a New York-based e-grocer, is designed to avoid the pitfalls of other dot-com grocery companies by stressing high quality food preparation and fresh food that seems to be sold at “strikingly low prices.” What worries us about this story is that the owners are already projecting sales of $225 million by 2004…and it seems like those kinds of expectations almost always blow up in the companies’ faces.

  • Fleming’s CFO, Neal Rider, has said that an informal inquiry by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into the company’s operations and accounting should not affect the sale of its retail operations, including its agreement to sell 26 of its 110 stores to Save Mart Supermarkets for $165 million.

  • Safeway Plc has lost its dominant position in the Scotland market, with both Tesco and Wal-Mart’s Asda Group overtaking it. The shift in market share has added to speculation that the company may be ripe for a takeover…possibly by either Tesco or Asda.

  • Nothing to do with food retailing, but an interesting story nonetheless… has begun selling the Segway Human Transporter for $4,950. Amazon is asking for a 10 percent deposit, with delivery of the Segway planned for between March and July 2003. The Segway is described as “the first self-balancing, personal transportation device,” which can operate safely on the sidewalk.

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